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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 17, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PST

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we knew this was going to be a busy news week, we knew in a week like this we should count on an unpredictable rush of news over the course of the week. we were not wrong about that. today has been a little bit nuts. this afternoon, the president released his last major batch of pardons and commutations including one for the former deputy chairman of the joint chiefs, marine general hoss cartwright. he was facing serious prison time for talking with a reporter about a top secret covert action against iran. general cart right will be pardoned for lying to the fbi about those conversations. army private first class chelsea manning who leaked reams of military and diplomatic files to wikileaks, she will not be pardoned for her crimes but she will have her sentence commuted after serving roughly seven years in prison.
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she'll get out of prison in may. we'll have charlie savage from the times in just a moment to talk about those cases. we can expect president obama himself to talk about those cases tomorrow in ill be his last ever presidential press conference. with only two more full days of this presidency before the next one starts, today was the day when one of the women who accused the incoming president of inappropriate sexual behavior, she announced she is filing a lawsuit against the president-elect against the man who on friday will become the next president. her lawyer says as part of the lawsuit she may subpoena recordings made on the set of the reality tv show "the apprentice." the tapes have been a source of rumor and speculation as to what mr. trump was caught on tape saying, if anything, while he was filming the show. we may know if the lawsuit releases those tapes.
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amid hearings for the secretary of education and interior, there was drama about the nominee to be health secretary. democrats were pushing to delay the health secretary's coop fir mission hearings amid new corruption allegations against congressman tom price and his stock trading while he's been in congress. there was some new drama about the ceo of exxon as well who the incoming administration wants to make secretary of state. there are some concerns they may not be able to get rex tillerson confirmed as secretary of state so lots going on. big night, lots of stories developing into the evening tonight. we expect every night this week will be like that but what continues to be the biggest story of all it might help to
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know there used to be an official travel agency of the soviet union josef stalin created a travel agency for the ussr. it was called in tourist. if you were a foreigner you had to go through in tourist and they will manage your trip. they managed hotels over the soviet union. all these in tourist hotels and if you wanted to visit the soviet union as a foreign tourist or business traveler you would have to stay in one of these in tourist hotels. the system was set up by stalin and everybody who worked at these lovely soviet looking hotels, they would keep an eye on you. they would keep a close eye on you. "the bellboys, drivers, cooks
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and maids worked for the nkvd" also known as the kgb. also on the payrolls were the prostitutes deployed to entrap and blackmail visiting foreign politicians and businessmen these in tourist hotels, they were all over the soviet union and they operated basically the same way, there would be a normal if somewhat terrifying and brutalist soviet hotel experience for most visitors but if some foreigner came through who was potentially influential in his or her home country, some cision maker who might where useful to the soviet state at some point, then they would basically deploy their intelligence assets, they would deploy them to the foreigners' hotel room. part of the reason we know the details of this is because one of these hotels, one of these in tourist hotels in the former soviet republic now called
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estonia. estonia is no longer part of the russian federation but they had one of these hotels but one of the new owners of the intourist hotel in estonia, they opened up a museum to highlight the listening devices and hidden cameras and microphones and spaying stations that they found inside the hotel after it was no longer a soviet spying operation. they started running a museum where they would show how the kgb would spy on people, staying in special rooms in this hotel where potentially influential or important foreigners would be assigned to stay when they came to visit. the kgb would mount entrapment operations. they basically would set up these foreigners to be black mailed by the soviet union. out of the 400 hotel rooms, the kgb had 60 rooms wired.
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they had a monopoly on prostitution. all of the prostitutes that worked at the hotel, all of them were kgb. and we know this in part, we know this in detail with the visuals. so you can see the holes in the walls and the ways the kgb spied on foreigners and made their blackmail tapes, it's amazing. if you're ever in estonia, best tourist detour ever. go see the kgb spying on the hotel room museum on the3rd floor. and, of course, now, the kgb doesn't exist anymore, kgb became the fsb which is two whole letters different than the kgb. ultimately the head of the fsb became this guy and this guy got to be president of russia in a very kgb kind of way. in the immediate post soviet era
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boris yeltsin was president of russia. he was the first president of russia after the soviet union collapsed. when boris yeltsin was the first president of russia, russia was a mess in lots of different ways. politically they were a mess. they went through five different prime ministers in three years while yeltsin was president in the late 1990s there was a powerful federal prosecutor looking into president yeltsin, looking into other people in yeltsin's government, looking into them for, allegedly, skimming off lots and lots of money into private foreign bank accounts. prosecutors looking into high-level corruption in the new russian presidency. and then, lo and behold, a grainy tape turns up that shows that federal prosecutor in a hotel bed with two very young-looking prostitutes. and maybe it's just a grainy tape and who can say if that's really the prosecutor? but then the head of the fsb, came out and publicly confirmed,
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yes, i hereby attest that is the prosecutor. that is definitely him, i'm the head the kgb -- i mean the fsb and this terrible person doing terrible things with these prostitutes filmed in this terrible hotel room, i can hear tell you that is this terrible prosecutor who incidentally has been looking into corruption by the president." and so because of that grainy tape the prosecutor looking into yeltsin lost his job and president yeltsin was very thankful and he named yet another new prime minister he named as his new prime minister the head of the fsb, vladimir putin. and that put a stop to the musical chairs at the head of the russian government and it never started up again because vladimir putin has not given up power since. how vladimir putin stopped being just a kgb guy and got political
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power in the first place was by producing at just the right time and in just the right way just the right sex tape to use for political purposes. ahem. today in russia, president putin spoke to reporters about the american intelligence community concluding the american government and himself as president interfered in our election to help donald trump win the election. he addressed the dossier of alleged dirt of donald trump in russia that was published by buzzfeed even though u.s. intelligence and buzzfeed has not verified the claims in it. obviously this is a dossier the incoming president strenuously denies, mr. putin said today he also denies any of that material is real, he says it's all made up, he says it's absurd to think that russian intelligence, the russian government would even try to collect damaging information on someone like donald trump while he visited russia.
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putin said trump wasn't a politician and russian officials weren't aware that he held any political ambitions. to be clear, donald trump spent time in russia in 2013. that's after he talked publicly about running for president in the 1980s and the 1990s after he kind of started to run for president in the year 2000 and after he add said repeatedly he was going to mount a run in 2012, he very publicly for decades flirted with running for president before he got to moscow in 2013. but the russian explanation today for why they definitely wouldn't ever bother collecting any intel on trump while trump visited russia, their explanation is that they had no idea he had any political ambitions, why would they think that? president putin told reporters at the kremlin today it is "complete nonsense" to believe that russian security services "chase after every american billionaire" while those
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billionaires are in russia doing business. vladimir putin also made comments today about how he didn't think that donald trump would ever visit prostitutes but if he did russian prostitutes are "undoubtedly the best in the world." i raise that not because of its news value but just so we all know what we're dealing with here. there are two full days left of the obama administration. one of the things that has happened in the very last days of the obama administration is that the outgoing president has accelerated the deployment of u.s. troops to right next to russia. these are american marines from camp lejeune arriving in central norway this week. this is the first time that foreign troops have been posted to norway since the end of world war ii but norway has 120 mile long border with russia, russia has been pushing at its own
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borders militarily including invading and taking over part of ukraine and the countries that border russia that we are sworn to protect from russian aggression because we are in a treaty alliance with them in nato, those countries are getting nervous about russia so marines from camp lejeune are stationed in norway now and a u.s. deployment much larger than that just arrived in poland as well. this happened this past week. the largest troop deployment in europe since the end of the cold war. a thousand troops going up to several thousand troops stakesed in poland the kremlin is furious about it but poland wants american troop there is. they negotiated for it at the last nato meeting to get american troops into poland because, again they want americans there. they want some protection. they want american protection if russia decides to push out of its borders again.
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this is the third armor brigade combat team from ft. carson, colorado, now based in poland. this was a deployment that was supposed to start later this month. president obama moved it up to start earlier so they are there now as he is leaving office. and these troops, along russia's edge, these troops in norway as of this week, in pole land as of last week, soon to be in estonia and bulgaria and romania, u.s. troops in all these countries that russia can see from its house, this is an unheralded story of how president obama is leaving office. this is part of the way that president obama is leaving office. by pushing up these deployments and getting those troops there and russia hates it. but our allies around russia's edges, they say they want it and we have said we will be there for them and president obama has really hurried this up in these last days to show our allies we are there for them and he's done in the a rush before he leaves office.
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and there is a lot going on in politi, right now, i know, with the confirmation hearings and the protests against the new president in washington and around the country. just the inauguration drama itself. there is a lot going on in inauguration week. this is the last few days of the obama administration and this is a thing that is happening. the outgoing president is very quietly leaving a whole bunch, leaving of thousands of troops on russia's doorstep on his way out the door. here's the question -- is the new president going to take those troops out? after all the speculation, after all the worry, we are actually about to find out if russia maybe has something on the new president. we're about to find out if the new president of our country is going to do what russia wants once he's commander-in-chief of the u.s. military starting noon
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on friday. what is he going to do with those deployments? watch this space. seriously. i realize that ah, that $100k is not exactly a fortune. well, a 103 yeah, 103. well, let me ask you guys. how long did it take you two to save that? a long time. then it's a fortune. well, i'm sure you talk to people all the time who think $100k is just pocket change. right now we're just talking to you. i told you we had a fortune. yes, you did. getting closer to your investment goals starts with a conversation. schedule a complimentary goal planning session today. the search for relief often leads here.s, today there's drug-free aleve direct therapy.
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and add phone and tv for only $34.90 more a month. call today. comcast business. built for business. today we learned two new things about the exxon ceo who has been nominated to be the secretary of state. the math on this is easy, if all 10 democrats on the committee vote no -- which is possible -- just one republican on the committee voted no to have rex tillerson's nomination fail in the committee. in all cases, failinin committee means the end of the nomination. that brings us to the second thing we learned today about this nomination. the second thing we learned is that failure in committee in this case would not be a problem. committee chair bob corker today told cnn that rex tillerson will get a full senate floor vote whether the committee approves him or not.
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which is good to know and important to know. what this means is that next monday's vote may be interesting. senator marco rubio of florida may yet have his chance to do something interesting and vote no on a nomination he appears to have grave concerns about but the republicans in the senate have decided they're going to move it to the floor and approve him anyway even if that happens. just to be clear, this is something they can do, but it would be very, very unusual for them to do it. this is exceedingly rare. if you want to find the last cabinet member to be confirmed after failing in committee you have to go back to the roosevelt administration in 1945. but it looks like they might bend over backwards and do that this year for exxon. couldn't happen to a nicer corporation or a bigger or more powerful one. watch this space. i don't want to live with
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reports now, this case is different. morison wasn't spying for a foreign country, he said he was trying to warn us about a soviet threat. >> reporter: samuel morison may have changed america in a way he never intended. he is the first man convicted of spying for making information public and could be sentenced to 40 years in prison. he worked for the navy as an expert on fighting ships and had a part-time job, with the navy's permission, as the u.s. editor of a british military magazine. what got him in trouble were satellite photos of construction of a soviet nuclear aircraft carrier which he obtained in his navy employment. he cut off the "classified" designation and sent them off to the magazine. he got no extra pay for them but the government decided to charge him with espionage for leaking the classified photos. >> we are not -- i don't think we are heavy handed or crazy about this. but when we're confronted with a situation that's serious and we believe the morison case was serious, we intend to follow
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through and prosecute. >> reporter: but why hit so hard at a decorated veteran of vietnam combat who could have been published by a demotion or being fired? >> this is an attempt to impose greater discipline upon the all too current habit of talking, showing documents, giving documents away to the press. >> reporter: since world war i when they were enacted, the espionage laws have been used to convict spies, not leakers. news organizations and so-called whistle-blowers feel threatened. >> for them to drag out a 70-year-old espionage law and accuse one of its employees of violating that law because they're a bit peaked at what he did is very dangerous. >> when you have an administration wilng to use the espionage laws toward that end and willing to use the criminal laws toward that end in an unprecedented fashion like this, i see the type of chill as being absolutely disastrous.
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>> reporter: if morison's kix is -- conviction is upheld on a peel, the government will have more power than it's ever had before. carl stern, nbc news, washington. >> he was convicted in 1985. he became the first government employee ever imprisoned for leaking classified information to the press. you heard in the package there he did face 40 years in prison. when he got sentenced he got sentenced to two years in prison and after serving eight months he got paroled. he was then pardoned by president clinton in 2001. then there was thomas drake. thomas drake was a former nsa employee who said he had concerns about wasteful spending at the nsa. motivated by those concerns, he said, he leaked information about the nsa to a reporter at the baltimore "sun." thomas drake was cautious. he used encrypted e-mail to communicate with that reporter but his leak was discovered, he got indicted, he faced 35 years in prison but he struck a plea
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deal and all he got was 240 hours of community service plus one year's probation. then there's john keir ya cue, he was a cia analyst. in 2012 he was charged with leaking classified information about a fellow cia officer. he served two years in federal prison. there are other people who leaked classified information to the press. for a variety of reasons. whistle-blowers or not. there are a lot of them who got much lighter sentences then chelsea manning did in august, 2013. private first class manning was sentenced to 35 years in her case. and that case was a very big deal, it was a huge amount of information. more than 700 files, including about 250,000 diplomatic cables from american embassies around the world. dossiers detailing intelligence assessments about prisoners at guantanamo, video of an american helicopter attack in baghdad
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that killed two journalists. this wasn't genericay to t press or a press organization that we expect,s of the the organization wikileaks. we think of waerks with a lot of different associations now, right? they went on to become a whole different kind of political deal. their editor-in-chief julian assange went into exile to avoid rape charges in scandinavia and then despite his exile in an ecuadorian embassy, wikileaks became apparently a vehicle for the russian government's efforts to interfere with our election this year. that all happened after chelsea manning leaked classified information to wikileaks for which she earned 35 years in prison. an unheard of sentence for somebody charged with leaking government information. today we've gotten two big pieces of information about
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those two last people i mentioned. president obama commuted chelsea manning's sentence. she will be released in may after serving approximately seven years in prison. that's one big piece of information. but then there's this. when it was considered that chelsea manning would be considered for a pardon, the group tweeted this "if obama grants manning clemency, julian assange will agree to u.s. extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of the department of justice's case." just a short time ago the group tweeted this, saying according to mr. assange's lawyer, everything julian assange has said he is standing by. two big pieces of news, more on the way. joining us now is charlie savageauthor of "power wars." mr. savage, thank you for being here. >> my pleasure, thank you for having me.
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>> is this an unexpected development from an administration that has been so aggressive in prosecuting people for leaking government information. >> unexpected in the sense that just as you said they've already at this point prosecuted nine or ten leak cases, that's trouble depending on how you count it. so ending an administration with this commutation and the pardon for general cartwright who was not charged with leaking but the lying to the fbi arose in the context of a leak investigation is an interesting twist at the end of obama's time in power because he will be remembered as a president who presided over tremendous criminalization of leaks. not unexpected in the last couple day there is have been rumblings about manning. i think you already played or maybe it was the earlier show josh earnest talking on friday and carefully distinguishing or making an argument for distinguishing ed snowden in terms of both of them requesting clemency.
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that was a sign they were taking it seriously. >> you've already seen some angry reaction to this. you saw house speaker paul ryan and other figures say this is outrageous. that this clemency shouldn't have happened, that this leak was so damaging that any mercy is inappropriate here. seems like part of the argument being made by supporters of manning's and people who were supporting the decision is about the disproportionate nature of the sentence. that 35-year sentence looks for me just from a cursory reading of this stuff that that is very, very different from the other sentences that have been meted out by this administration or others in terms of this crime. >> we don't have a lot of cases to compare it to because until recently criminal prosecutions and especially successful ones of leakers was exceedingly rare. there's about a dozen cases you can look at, most cases that result in a conviction you're looking at one year, two years, three years.
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i believe the longest other sentence, the next-longest sentence is three and a half years. so the manning sentence is an order of magnitude greater than anyone else has ever received. of course her leak was, to be fair, to be fulsome of our discussions, it was qualitatively different than most other leaks. she was a bulk leaker, not "here's the secret" but "here's all the secrets." and it's clear the military and the prosecution was trying to throw the book at her and make an example out of her to deter this new kind of leak that she basically was the first to figure out could be done and did carry out. >> charlie, what do you make about this prospect of julian assange from wikileaks coming back to the united states saying that he's already contesting any case against him of that the justice department might mount here. if he does stop fighting extradition and comes to the united states, what would you expect from that case? >> well, i'm not sure there e charges pending against him. there's not been any kind of confirmed report.
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he's not an american citizen and so maybe there's something they could extradite him for or maybe this is just grandstanding and trying to make himself the center of attention. >> i can't imagine he'd want to be the center of attention. charlie savage, national security reporter for the "new york times." author of "power wars" thank you for coming in tonight. >> thank you. still ahead, what to expect when you are expecting an unusually small inauguration. stay with us. new girl, huh? yeah, i'm -- i couldn't help but notice you checking out my name your price tool. yeah, this bad boy gives you coverage options based on your budget. -oh -- -oh, not so fast, tadpole. you have to learn to swim first. claire, here's your name your price tool. -oh, thanks, flo. -mm-hmm. jamie, don't forget to clean the fridge when you're done. she seems nice. she seems nice. [ door closes ] she's actually pretty nice. oh. yeah. watry...duo fusiong heartburn relief?
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an army of ants. if you have one ant, that's just an ant. but if you have a bunch of ants together, that is an army, an army of ants. same thing with one goose but a gaggle of geese. one cow, one deer, but it's a herd if it's cows or deers or any other ungulate. if you have snails, it's a route of snails, which is awesome. if you have a bunch of crow, famously that is a murder of crows. we have names when they come in groups and some are weird but we need a new one now. there's a new one going on in politics that happens over and over and over again and this is something that -- we know what to call it when it happens once. what we don't know, what the word for it is, is when it happens six times in aow. one time i can name it. but when it happens six times in quick succession i have no idea what you call that. if you have ever wanted to name
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a multiplicity of something, tonight is your night to do that with a new phenomenon in politics. that is coming up. stay with us.
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the largest event held in washington, d.c. was president obama's inauguration in 2005. 1.8 million people to see barack obama sworn in as president for the first time. 1.8 million people. at this week's inauguration, homeland security officials say they expect the crowd to be maybe 800,000 or 900,000 people. that's impressive -- that's a ton of people. unless you have publicly called for your movement fans to set the all time record for crowd size at an inauguration then getting less than half the size the crowd of your predecessor it probably doesn't feel awesome. last week, the incoming president said his inauguration day this week is turning out to be "even bigger than expected."
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then today there was this "people are pouring in to washington in record numbers, bikers for trump are on their way." bikers for trump are on their way. that is not just short hand for anybody with a harley and a red baseball hat tucked underneath their helmet. bikers for trump is an actual group with that actual name, bikers for trump. now that is not to be confused with bikers 4 trump who bikers for trump say is actually a scam group. while we're keeping track, consider also the two million bikers to d.c. which is a bitter rival of bikers for trump which says that bikers 4 trump is a scam. you got all that? about the rival/scam trump biker groups and their mutual recriminations? i should also mention that the bikers for trump group, they say they have received a permit to
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demonstrate at the inauguration on friday. their founder says more than 5,000 bikers for trump will be at the inauguration to form what he calls "a wall of meat" against any protesters along the inaugural parade route. so that's one thing to look forward to at the inauguration this year. a four stroke rolling defensive wall of meet. i don't think they're bringing meat. i think they think of selves as meat. i think. but it's possible the whole thing is kind of a hoax since a lot of the photos inspired such confidence that the bikers are roaring into town appear to be photos of stuff like, you know, toy drives for kids from years ago. so who knows whether the bikers will, in fact, provide a wall of meat at the inaugural parade. that is in the realm of "imagine if" along with the new president calling for record attendance this friday. for now, it's all what if. but from the realm of math, we do have this new monmouth poll
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that came out that says the incoming president has a favorability rating of just 34%. a new "washington post"/abc poll says donald trump's favorability is 40%. that's the lowest it's been for any incoming president in their four decades of polling on this subject. cnn has the favorability a little bit higher but barely, they've got him at 44%. a new nbc "wall street journal" poll out tonight calls president trump the most unpopular incoming president in the history of that poll as well. nbc/"wall street journal" has him at 38%. lowest ever. and you might think those polls are rigged, as the president-elect said today. you might say the bikers are on their way to form their wall of meat but we are seeing a wave of protesters for and against this nomination descending on the capital, filling the streets. the national park service says they have provided 22 permits to first amendment groups for this week with more permits still pending.
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that's way more permits than they have been given out before and at least that part of this inauguration, that part having to do with protest against the incoming president, that is already planned to be the biggest ever. la quinta presents "how to win at business." step one: suck on and point decisively with the arm of your glasses. it is no longer eyewear, it is your wand of business wizardry. abracadabra. you've just gone from invisible to invincible. step two: before your meeting, choose la quinta. the only hotel where you can redeem loyalty points for a free night-instantly so you can prepare to win at business. book now at lq.com
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my insurance rates are but dad,ou've got...e. ...allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. indeed. it's good to be in, good hands. this was earlier this evening here in washington, d.c. three days out from the presidential inauguration, these are anti-trump protesters who marched through much of downtown d.c. tonight. they held signs, caused road closures. some protesters ended up outside the president-elect's downtown d.c. hotel. you see that guy holding a sign with an eye on it? some people held protest signs that had the letter "i" on them. that represented what they say represents the president-elect's illegitimacy as president. these protests in the street are starting as the list of democratic members of congress
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who plan to boycott the inauguration plans to get longer by the end of the day. those aren't the credits for the end of the show, those are the members of congress we know as of tonight aren't going. nbc news confirms at least 50 democratic members of congress have said they'll skip friday's inauguration. we don't think 50 would be a record but we do think it's the most in at least 40 years to stay away from a presidential inauguration. joining us now is michael beschloss, nbc news presidential historian. michael great to have you here, especially in this big week. >> right. >> for a presidential historian, is this a little christmassy? >> it's just as exciting as it could be. >> well put. what is the history of significant protesat inaugurations? i feel like i've seen a lot of them, i've been to a few of them. there's some degree of protest but what about large scale protest? is it ever important? >> it does happen. in 1973, some members of congress did stay home because
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they were angry at richard nixon about the fact that he had extended the vietnam war for four more years through his first term and there were actually beer cans and beer bottles thrown at the presidential limousine but that didn't affect nixon much politically because the war was over two days later so that was a dead letter. i think the difference here is if this inauguration turns into a big mess with a lot of protest and anger and what we remember of this is not a great unifying speech by a president and a lot of good feeling but a lot of bad feeling that could impair this president as he starts. >> one of the things that is hard to understand and also hard to put in context about what we're seeing with the president-elect's approval numbers. obviously the big headline is there's never been a president in modern polling that's had numbers this low. >> never. >> we've never had an incoming president who's had numbers upside down. >> nothing like this.
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>> but what's happened is over the course of the transition his numbers have gotten worse. >> yup. >> that's also unprecedented, isn't it? >> he threw this away. because what a president usually uses the transition for is to say to the people who didn't vote for him "i'm better than you may think, i'm going to make appointments of people you may like, i'm going to say things you may like." instead what donald trump said was i'm going not going to pretend to do that. i'm going to put out tweets, be combative and strike people as impulsive and people who might have been open to persuasion decided he did not like donald trump. you find this odd situation where he won the popular vote high 40s. these numbers of these polls are saying high 30s, that means if they're reliable some people who voted for him are walking away. >> the other thing we are watching, i had sort of like an informal bet with my staff that no matter what happens with the
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inauguration numbers in terms of crowd size, donald trump will lie about the crowd size. >> he'll say it was three times whatever the real numbers were, we'll see that in a tweet. >> it's unfair for me to project that he will lie. but because he has promised it will be record numbers -- >> so it has to be above 1.8 which is the obama number. >> and just to put that in context, too, in historical terms, the obama number at 1.8 was a remarkable number. there were so many things about that moment in history and also he was -- george w. bush was incredibly unpopular, this new president was incredibly popular, the first african-american president, so many things made that possible. i don't know that we'll ever see that again. the next-closest record to that was like a third behind it. that was lbj in 1965 with 1.2 million. so nobody's ever gotten close to what barack obama did in 2009, right?
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that's an unattainable number for anybody any time soon. >> and unlikely to see something like that. it's meaningful for trump. he has said he's relying on his presidential term by saying to congress, republicans who don't like him or are skeptical of him, you better vote with me on these controversial programs or else i'll tell the voters in your district or state to vote against you. if his numbers are down that's a weak threat and he'll have a hard time getting those passed? >> he's been so explicit about that threat. that threat is often implied by a lot of presidents but this one he's been saying i won your state by x amount and i'll go back there. >> and you better be afraid. and it either works or doesn't and we will see. >> doesn't work at 38% approval rating. >> i would say that's right. >> michael beschloss, nbc news presidential historian, thank you for being here. >> nice to be here, rachel. >> much more ahead tonight. please do stay with us. ith a pln
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the first thing to know about the nominee to be for secretary of education, she's sitting not just on one but two enormous family fortunes. betsy devoss is very wealthy and the sheer amount of her wealth and the sprawl of her financial interests makes her difficult to vet. you have got to know what she's got in terms of assets and financial entanglements in order to know where she may have a conflict of interest her new job. how do you sort that out?
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mrs. devos and her husband have investments in 250 companies registered to a single address in grand rapids, michigan. 250 companies at one address and that's one sliver of their holdings. the "wall street journal" says she has indirect stake in a student loan company. going to be education secretary? it's complicated but they oversee the student loan program. it's important to understand that she has a conflict of interest or if she doesn't. another question, more than $5 million in fines that her political action committee was ordered to pay for campaign finance violations. that is part of a campaign for education in ohio. democrats are making an issue of that since she would be secretary of education. it seems important to know all of that. direct investments, indirect investments, $5 million related to an education-related campaign.
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if you check with the office of government ethics you will find a list of certified financial disclosures. these are the reports they have gone through and signed off on for nominees. at the top of the list are the most recent nominees from the incoming administration. steve mnuchin is there. elaine chow is there. congressman price is. betty devos is not on the list. her investments, her financial forms haven't gotten that certified stamp of approval from the office of government ethics. they are apparently still working on it, and yet there she was tonight on capitol hill testifying in front of the senate health labor committee. they don't have a full report on her finances and her financial vetting. that's unusual. not unheard of but unusual.
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this committee she's up against tonight is a tough lineup. look at the line up. patty many you ary, chris fur fi tim kaine, elizabeth warren. they came ready to make this a contact sport this evening. >> do you think if you were not a multibillionaire, if your family had not hundreds of millions of dollars to contributions to the republican party you would be sitting here today? >> have you ever managed or overseen a trillion dollar loan program? >> i have not. >> how about billion dollar loan program? >> i have not. >> no experience managing this. >> this is a shame. this rush job, ini built to allow the public to see this debate. >> i don't know what you are protect tg ms. devos from. she should have scrutiny she is going to oversee the education of our kids. >> 980%.
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>> that's not -- that's not so. it's increased 118%. >> well -- >> i'm just asking if you are challenging my figures, i'd ask you get your figures straight. >> democrats have said they intend to ask a lot of questions of the cabinet nominees for in the the administration. they intend to conduct a thorough grilling. tonight we got a taste of what they mean by that tomorrow will be tom price's turn to face the same committee. he has been nominated to be the healther is take citing many mounting questions about his investments in health companies and the corruption questions, democrats are asking to have the tom price hearing postponed until they get more information on his stock trading and whether or not it was corrupting. no word on whether they will get that delay. if they don't we will have the tom price round tomorrow.
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i wonder what they will ask him. baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? no sir, no sir, some nincompoop stole all my wool sweaters, smart tv and gaming system. luckily, thico insy recently helped baa baa with renters insurance. everything stolen was replaced. and the hooligan who lives down the lane was caught selling the stolen goods online. visit geico.com and see how easy it is to switch and save on renters insurance.
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head of the sec, the top cop that polices wall street, former lawyer for goldman sachs. after those four the trump
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house for another partner at goldman sachs. that brings us to five goldman sachs hires for the looking out for the little guy white house. remarkably enough they found another goldman sachs guy that will be taking over the office of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs. this week the new hire could be found in davos. while there he gave an interview to a russian state-run news agency saying the u.s. sanctions on russia haven't worked and have probably galvanized russians with the russian president, whatever that means and he said he could help arrange for investments which the u.s. put sanctions on in 2015 but hey this is a new day. the day of goldman sachs alums sliding in to federal government. half dozen so far. presents a new challenge. if this comes up, we may need a new collective work for a group of goldman sachs people, flock or heard or hack.
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like a portfolio of goldman sachs hires, a hedge, a purse, a gamble, an anti-regulatory framework. i don't know. what do you call it when you hire six people from goldman sachs one after the other? send us your best, most printable suggestions with the collective noun we need a blank of goldman sachs hires. think about it, write it down, don't use the word "murder." send it to rachel.com. we thank you. we will see you again tomorrow. time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell". good evening, lawrence. >> i take my home work assignment seriously from you. i think you know what you call it. i think you call it goldman sachs. isn't that what you call it. >> usually that would be a good day and good college recruiting day for goldman sachs in ts

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